Digital tools have immensely improved the academic field because it saves time, resources, and money for the historians doing the research. As we discussed in one of the earlier classes, computers and the internet opened up so many avenues for academics with even websites like Wikipedia being a huge source for quick convenient information. It helps others get involved with learning and teaching what they know which becomes this revolving source of collected information. Interlibrary loans give valuable information for scholars who need sources that are hard to come by due to location, time and saving money altogether. Being able to communicate with multiple historians and having their help in collaborating, analyzing and giving advice in their research.
The different history fields like women, environmental, and ethnohistory have helped pave the way to being more accessible to different groups. These new fields open up for people to delve into what was once untouched and widely ignored for years. It’s difficult for historians to thoroughly research some of the fields like women’s history because much of the women during the centuries didn’t keep a lot of written documents. This is due in part to women being perceived as property to men for most of history. So unfortunately some history has to have a fill in the blank type of method. These new fields really interest me and helps gain my attention to certain histories that began to become quite stale by constantly focusing on white men and their problems. By showing all the paths you can take in learning history, it opens a whole new world for everybody such as the civil war and discussing what the women did and how the African American men and women evolved through this hectic time. There’s so much more to view in history if you just look beyond and realize the possibilities that can be explored.
I still find most of the traditional fields a bit more bland than other sorts of history subjects that interests me. But I find that the overall development of the fields having a different approach and expanding is making them more approachable to the masses especially women and people of color. The traditional fields mainly focused on the same old statistics and battles therefore it became quite stagnant in the history department. But by delving more into the different races involved, economical values for the common people, and even veering over to what women did is making these fields much more presentable and a breath of fresh air. Rethinking these genres by focusing on things other than generals and battle strategies is a step in the right direction because it shows historians are challenging and facing this evolution with an open mind rather than backing down and continuing on that stagnant dull path. I believe this new approach is in regards to the public backlash of the Vietnam war and just the overall negativity in approaching that war. We’ve grown to see and read things we may not agree with and so many different avenues have let us be able to vocalize our disinterest which in turn spreads like wildfire. Facing racism and sexism has started to come to an end in historical research with people voicing their discontent in the blatant discrimination.
The advancement of time has done well for the overall study of history as more demand knowledge of what interests one. From the publication of historical fiction in novels and film productions, the public has gained new avenues in developing a fascination for stories that have actually taken place and thus the audience falls down the rabbit hole and looks for more of the subject. Popular history has thrived these past few years as more and more authors put their names in the hat to possibly gain fame with their writings about historical events and famous individuals. Education has also been more accessible which has done an immense help in advancing our outlook on numerous ideologies from race to politics.
It’s noticeably apparent in comparing the writings of an older generation of Francis Parkman and the newer one like Francis Jennings. Parkman is definitely a man of his generation who thrives on writing what primarily interests himself and his own ideals especially in regards to favoring the English and dismantling the American Indians. His writing is focused on such a small branch of people and is mostly written like a novel striving to be noticed rather than taken as a serious historical perspective. Jennings has a much more objective approach of history which is the way history should always be written. Popular history must try to take an academic approach by using accurate resources and no biases but still make it accessible to a wider audience with the way it is written. History will continuously evolve through time through the basis of education and technological advances as well it should. As Francis Jennings said he is merely there to open the field and never to close it through his immense dedication to providing objectivity, various interpretations, honesty, and reliables sources.